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Bronisław Huberman: From child prodigy to resistance fighter against National Socialism

Bronisław Huberman, ca. 1928. Unknown photographer, Library of Congress, George Grantham Bain Collection, Washington, DC
Bronisław Huberman, ca. 1928. Unknown photographer, Library of Congress, George Grantham Bain Collection, Washington, DC

Huberman then selected the first musicians for the orchestra whilst on concert tours in Europe by auditioning individual musicians in various cities, such as Warsaw, Vienna and Basel. The most important criterion for Huberman was the outstanding quality of the instrumentalists, particularly since the benchmark for the orchestra could not be set high enough now that Toscanini had been announced as the conductor. He was supported in selecting players and organising auditions by colleagues and conductors with whom he was friends, including the Austrian-Hungarian conductor Georg Szell (1897-1970), head of the Scottish National Orchestra at the time. In Berlin, the conductor Hans-Wilhelm (William) Steinberg (1899-1978), who was the general music director and subsequently orchestra conductor of the Kulturbund deutscher Juden in Frankfurt am Main until 1933, held the auditions in the Hotel Fürstenhof, a traditional luxury hotel in Potsdamer Platz. In the same year, Steinberg emigrated to Palestine and became the principal conductor of the Palestine Orchestra.

The salary expectations and visions for the future of those musicians who were living in Germany did not always match the opportunities available in Palestine or the living conditions there and this meant that many of Huberman’s preferred candidates declined.[44] Most of the musicians arriving from Germany came from the orchestras of the Jüdischer Kulturbund in Frankfurt and Berlin. They included, for example, the trombonist Heinrich Schiefer (1906-2006), who was born the son of Polish parents in Berlin-Kreuzbert. He had worked in Berlin as a jazz musician, performed at various engagements in the Netherlands and in Switzerland and had been declared stateless in Germany in 1935. Also from Berlin was the horn player Horst Salomon (*1913), a passionate amateur wrestler and member of the Zionist sports club Bar Kochba, whose musical abilities were so well known in various orchestras and theatres in Berlin that he did not need to audition for Steinberg and Huberman. Schiefer and Salomon, who were good friends, emigrated to Palestine together.[45]

 

[44] Ibid, page 79-85

[45] Ibid, page 87-89

Mediathek Sorted

Mediathek
  • Bronisław Huberman as a seven-year-old, 1889

    Fig. 1: The child prodigy, 1889

    Bronisław Huberman as a seven-year-old, 1889
  • Bronisław Huberman at a young age, ca. 1895

    Fig. 2: As a youth, ca. 1895

    Bronisław Huberman at a young age, ca. 1895 Unknown photographer, albumin print, 14.7 x 10.1 cm, Nationalmuseum Warsaw/Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, Inv. No. DI 103634 MNW
  • Bronisław Huberman as a fourteen-year-old, 1896

    Fig. 3: As a fourteen-year-old, 1896

    Bronisław Huberman as a fourteen-year-old, 1896 Photograph by R. Wilhelm, New York, Philip Hale Photograph Collection, Boston Public Library
  • Bronisław Huberman as an eighteen-year-old, 1900

    Fig. 4: Bronislaw Huberman, 1900

    Bronisław Huberman as an eighteen-year-old, 1900
  • Emil Orlik: Portrait of Bronisław Huberman with violin, ca. 1915

    Fig. 5: Emil Orlik: Huberman, ca. 1915

    Emil Orlik: Portrait of Bronisław Huberman with violin, ca. 1915 Etching, 24.5 x 29.3 cm
  • Lesser Ury: Portrait of Bronisław Huberman, ca. 1916

    Fig. 6: Lesser Ury: Huberman, ca. 1916

    Lesser Ury: Portrait of Bronisław Huberman, ca. 1916 pastel on board, 97.2 x 70.7 cm, Jewish Museum Berlin, Inv. No. GHZ 78/1/0
  • Bronislaw Huberman: Vaterland Europa, Berlin 1932

    Fig. 7: “Vaterland Europa”, 1932

    Bronislaw Huberman: Vaterland Europa, Berlin 1932
  • Open letter from Bronisław Huberman to Wilhelm Furtwängler, Prager Tagblatt, 1933

    Fig. 8: Open letter to Furtwängler, 1933

    Open letter from Bronisław Huberman to Wilhelm Furtwängler, Prager Tagblatt from 13 September 1933, Austrian National Library
  • The physicist Albert Einstein meets Bronisław Huberman 1936 in the US

    Fig. 9: Einstein meets Huberman, 1936

    The physicist Albert Einstein meets Bronisław Huberman 1936 in his house in Princeton, New Jersey
  • The Palestine Orchestra during a rehearsal under the leadership of Arturo Toscanini, 1936

    Fig. 10: Toscanini rehearses with the Palestine Orchestra, 1936

    The Palestine Orchestra during a rehearsal under the leadership of Arturo Toscanini, presumably in December 1936